5cense On Gila Monsters, becoming a Master + free-soloing Rap rock for the road (May '94)


[13 Nov 2020> Digging into a new journal in our transcription process (another plain brown 1 shown below)—end of April 1994, where post # 802 left off, still in Tucson... our last month there actually, then we got our Masters+ split ...]

April 24, 1994 — Tucson, AZ
I've been experiencing so much déjà vu lately that it's becoming smoothed into my hum-drum perception, playing off it, not trying to actively act on it, but passively trying to "make sense" of it, turn it in to perceived sensual perception. So I got this new journal (brown as a grocery bag with unbleached brown paper) going and it's April 1994 and I'm in a transition that I am unable to tell where it will lead me by the time this journal is over, but it will be far from here. I don't want to overstay my Tucson welcome. Actually it's not so much Tucson as this whole academic situation. I don't see a purpose to continuing on in physics as it's not where my passion lays. I need to create. I need to write. I need to climb. I need to be free. I've been writing more and more lately. Tried writing a poem last week that turned into a jumbled mess ("On the Crossroads of the Summit"). Upon re-reading it I'm having trouble following it. Trying to say too much about possibly unrelated phenomena. I guess it was seeded by my revelation in January as we passed the crossroads (near Guadalajara) and it was unexpected and it was like suddenly meeting myself in the future, or in the past. A sort of re-evaluation, but then it turned into a metaphysical hodge-podge of stuff about space and time and the body as a ghost building that seats the soul. And how the smoke from the brick makers made me nostalgic and have a sort of out of body experience. What's up with this whole genie myth anyways? Some reminiscing of Mexico as an early teen and the chicken coop incident and buying the fishnet. But I need a structure that is cohesive.
     This journal also finds me in a financial rut, though I now have a car, which is a foreign concept to me. If I don't get this Pima—U of A thing I don't know what I'll do. Thursday night I had what I could almost consider a legitimate date, with Adriana. Even put on a collared shirt and picked her up in my stylin' limo [a beat-up Ford Courier pickup we bought for $500]. We went to the 4th ave social club to dance salsa. Something about her intimidates me. I told her that and she said she usually intimidates guys with her forward nature. But at the same time she seems elusive and emotionally detached, always waiting for you to say something. And she's always going on about this ex in Colombia and making comparisons. We had fun even though I can't dance salsa worth a damn. She tried to teach me but I felt rather foolish. Then afterwards she's talking to some guy out front and getting his number and in Spanish she's playing me off, "oh that's just some guy that drove me here." Don't put any eggs in that basket.
     We went over to Shaheen's hot tub and ended up sitting in it until about 4 a.m., long after Shaheen had gone to sleep. Then she wanted me to massage her face that she had laid on my lap, giving into me willingly. I wouldn't trust her massaging my face, that's for sure. Then she wanted the full body treatment. I was so tempted to just to just move my inches a few inches down and start something but it would have been too easy. And it can throw you into some involved mess.
     Saturday I climbed with Shaheen. We had planned on the Sea Gods but it was variable weather so we went to five-mile wall. Approached from Marshall gulch. It was almost a two hour trudge and the directions we had were coming from Romero so we got a little lost bushwhacking around, but finally got our bearings. Did A Town With No Pity (5.10, 3 pitches). The first pitch was a little vague and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to go. Started to go up this dihedral then backtracked, went up the next one, but there was a point where the gear ran out and there was a seemingly improbable sequence of committing moves. I stalled and psyched myself out for quite a while, my arms turning to jello. Next thing I know is my body was doing it on its own accord, without my body officially giving it the okay. Climbing is such a head game, so many factors coming into play, 'how's my gear?' 'Am I on route?' 'Can I do this move?' Mind and body become separated. I pulled it off and belayed Shaheen up. (I guess they called that pitch 5.9+). The next pitch was a beautiful, sustained, right facing, curving, 5.10 dihedral. The move getting into it was heinous. I was gripped but just kept moving through the slopey layback, knowing I had to stop to get gear in. I couldn't even see into the crack. I was just plugging stuff in and trying to look at it as I cruised by. It was a blast. Shaheen led the last 5.4 pitch and then we had a long hike out. Went to the Olive Garden and ate a shitload of salad and eggplant and a bottle of red wine.
     I had made plans to wake up at 5:30 and do Cherry Jam with Bruce, but I knew it wouldn't happen so I made it 7:30. I was trashed half way up the approach. Getting major blisters and having doubts. The wind was howling and freaking me out. And not only did we see a Gila monsters but we saw 2 of them!!! Huge sluggish lizards with club tails, long slithery tongues, and yellow or orange mottled markings. They had a certain abrupt hissing that was funny. We got ¾ the way up and still had a steep bushwhack to boot, not to mention the 6 pitch climb and the hike out. I could tell Bruce was picking up my vibes of reluctancy. So finally we consented defeat to Table mountain, towering above us in the wind.

May 1, 1994 — Tucson
May day, Mom's birthday. Saturday I got up at 5:30 to do Cherry Jam (5.8+) with Bruce. We decided to approach from Pima Canyon, thrashing our way over table mountain. I love that sloping plateau, it's its own world. We saw a pair of golden eagles but no big horn sheep, though we had our eyes peeled. Rapped the gully and bushwhacked around the base til we found it. What a serious three hour bushwhack! I had my expectations very high after all this so when I started up the first pitch and I was still almost bushwhacking I was disappointed. The "classic hand crack" was full of leaves and dirt that I had to clear out to get a decent jam. Belayed in some bushes when I ran out of rope (5.7?) Bruce led the second pitch up a cool but short dihedral/jam crack up to a weird chimney and then a ledge. The next pitch was the infamous crux pitch (5.8+) up some unprotected off-width over a scary block then to the roof. It was like going back to the womb. A roof with an off width in it jutting left. Clipped a bong, put in a piece or 2 of my own then started to squeeze thru the "horizontal chimney". I was in so tight I couldn't breathe so retreated lower so the narrowest part was at my neck (had to take my helmet off), upper body off-width w/ feet dangling into free space! Reached up for a bomber hand jam and understood the metaphor involved in the name. Pulled myself out over the lip of the roof. One of the single coolest moves ever. This was followed by a hand-crack which the rope kept getting stuck in. Had to downclimb and put in gear just to keep the rope out of the crack. Was jamming 20 feet over my placement and got to a big block the size of a microwave oven. I was impatient from dealing with the rope drag and could see the ledge just after this move. I was getting that weird out of reality feeling, shook the block and it seemed okay, started to go over it and it cut loose. I started to tumble backwards, yelled "Falling!!" then "Rock!!!" and was waiting for a big fall, but somehow managed to lodge myself back into the crack. The rock was still coming at me. It wedged itself in in a cloud of granite spark dust. Talk about thanking your lucky stars. I would have taken a forty foot whipper, careening off a ledge, not to mention possibly getting smacked by the 100-pound block. I wrapped it off as a chockstone then got up to the ledge chocked with calf-size boulders. Then began the attack of the Peregrine Falcons. They kept dive-bombing me and screeching. Bruce led the 4th, more bush-whacking with a twenty foot section of steep layback crack to a roof with good exposure. After that it fell to complete shit, two more pitches of agave pulling over loose blocks, but we had to top out to get to our packs. Trudged out and managed to get beer and beans in our bellies before it was even dark.
     Today I did Pitfalls of Hesitation (5.10) x 4 pitches (a.k.a. 'shitfalls of hesitation' due to the 'pants filling runout'). Me and Harlow were on our way to Rap rock but it was cold so we thrashed down to the Hawks Bill. Harlow led the first pitch (5.9) which basically got us on the rock, a stiff move over some boulders with instant exposure with only a #0 TCU for protection. I led the second, crux, pitch— up a dihedral to a roof that arched out left. A cool thin move got me to a bomber layback to pull out around the roof. Short and sweet. When I belayed I was only about thirty feet above Harlow, it was like a little toy roof. Harlow led the third (5.9) and took about an hour and a half while I hung in a hanging belay with nothing but air and the highway below. He was feeling shaky and kept making shitloads of placements. There was this awkward slopey ramp traverse that gave him a lot of problems. I was freezing my ass off and the wind was howling so when I got up to the "pants filling runout pitch" ("but would be all air if you fell") I was all psyched out. I hesitated, looking at the overhanging arête, expecting 60 feet of run out. In the end I said fuck it. Got a stopper in and started pulling out huge jugs to a piton, stepped left and was surprised to see a nice stopper placement after about 15 feet. Then more bomber ones. Not as run out as the book made it out to be. Enjoyed the climbing a little more then got to a section that was pretty run out but then I was up. What a fabulous climb! Had to thrash our way out past New York Deli wall which I will definitely return for.
      I was awaken this morning by a phone call from Kevin— made me realize just how out of touch you can get. Not just with family and friends, but with yourself. How transient this lifestyle is. This particular reference frame and circle of friends. And how these modes of expressions, outlets— (climbing, writing, physics) can distract you. Some like Climbing or physics are too esoteric for people to understand. I'd like to say to Kevin, "I did Pitfalls of Hesitation today" but he wouldn't understand. Whereas if I said it to another climber, especially one who had done the route, they would instantly understand. Instead I say to Kevin— "I just went climbing, same old shit." Play it off. I wish I could write so people would understand, but are my words really more important than any others? Anyway, Kevin is going to Nepal with his sugar mama, Jordan. So he is wrapped up in his own bubble.

May 3, 1994 — Tucson
Got to get this all straight in my mind — I've got this scheme... I'm gonna go to South Dakota and work in the Chief Cafe for the summer, me and Bruce, work and climb! I don't know why I didn't think of this before. I have to work this out so I don't think I'm crazy. It's May 3, my final is May 9 — lotsa work to do before that. Rebecca will take over my place starting May 15, easy enough. I'll do the bureaucracy shit for a Masters so I can get it next December. Store my stuff circa May 15 take off via climbing in Red Rocks or Yosemite, make our way over to South Dakota to start work June 1. Climb after work at the needles, then at Devil's Tower on the weekends. Return around August 15 then work things out from there. Get my Master's, teach and wrap up my stay in Tucson. This whole education thing is getting me down. I feel free with this decision. Two and a half months at $6-7/hr., eleven weeks at $250 a week — that's about $3000. Not quite as much as working here, but it's the experience, a way to do a lot of climbing. Things to do before I go— get residency, file for Master's, talk to MacIntyre, put stuff in storage, clear out of my place— shit, just get the fuck out of here. Maybe even sell at a flea market, get rid of some excess baggage.

May 4
Another addition to this scheming — I filled out my candidacy for a Master's and scheduled my Master's oral for May 17th. That's it. That simple. I went to talk to Thews, too. He seemed to still be confident of the NSF funding, but I bit the hand that feeds — once I have a glimpse of freedom, my mouth waters for a job behind the grill and climb, climb, climb. The oppressiveness of university life is revealing itself not that I see the open door and can imagine life in the real world. It's like leaving home. My committee chairperson is Dr. Hill and other members are Dr. Melia and Dr. Kilkson. Kilkson was a big mistake in retrospect. I have some money coming to skip town with, $60 from food conspiracy, $450 deposit on the house and $50 from the phone company and another $50 from either gas or electric — $610 to boost me along with the $700 I have in my savings account right now. And another $342 paycheck. Maybe I'll sell some CD's. Ch-Ch-Changes.

May 6, 1994 — Tucson
My days in Tucson are numbered. They are becoming oppressive and unpredictable, but in another sense exciting. No longer a set schedule, just late night drinking, lots of coffee to counteract it. Trying to sleep in this heavy heat. 2:00 a.m. in my underwear with the swamp cooler cranked. Looking forward to South Dakota. Woke up at 6 a.m., went through my books since coffee shops don't open until 7 a.m. Got a few hours of studying in then paid an unlikely and brief social call to Stefan who had a book of mine and I had a book of his (he left a message on my machine). Awkward kind of "have a good life (asshole)" exchange, but no real malice. Took Rebecca to Tucson Realty to fill out an application, an afternoon of errands in hot Tucson with Rebecca, then we went to the culvert. Pried myself away to come home, make calls to South Dakota, went to Summit Hut and bought a sleek new 8.8 mm and took a handful of books to Bookmans just to get $45. Studied for a few hours until they closed on me, then went to Ben's Genitals and slammed a few pitchers of Porter with Shaheen and Jesus. It felt like I was visiting them after being away for a while — the gap already forming of lives diverging. Went home and Bruce came by, my convergent schemer. Grabbed another handful of books and went to Bookman's but this time they only gave me $20. Went to Bentley's and tried to study but was too wired. Came home. Tried to sleep but first Lydia came by, my roommate that no longer is, and then Heather wanting to eat. So we went to the cup and drank whiskey and red wine and ate coconut pie with all the weirdos. Oral is pushed back to the 18th and the job in South Dakota is set.

[climbing at "the culvert" (the free outdoor climbing gym)]

May 7
Woke up early to study at Cafe Comidas. Heather was waiting tables on no sleep. I was supposed to crank off sport routes with Harlow, late morning start, but it felt too cheap. I had to explain to him that it felt like having cheap sex with an old crumby girlfriend (doing sport routes on Mt. Lemmon) after you've developed an infatuation for another girl (South Dakota). I'm not sure he got it, but I managed to talk him out of it. And what do I do? I head straight for Rap rock by myself. I stopped at the Summit Hut Sale. Bunch of people 'talking' about climbing. Continued up. I think this was the first time I had been up Mt. Lemmon by myself, reflecting on all the crags, all the climbs—It Cliff, Chimney, Green Slabs, the Pharaoh, Windy Point, Druid, etc. Up and up, straight to the top. It was a little cold and there were patches of snow. It felt good to be by myself hiking. More in tune, more in thought with just the surrounding and my mind. When I got to the top of Rap Rock there was another pack stashed. I was slightly bummed that somebody else was there. It felt good to only put on my shoes and grab my chalk bag— so light, so free. I got to the base, nostalgic to be back. Looking at the clean granite. I felt the rock then took a shit in the woods burying it under a heap of pine needles. I went back and figured I'd boulder around to warm up. Then I bouldered up the first moves of Bender Axen (5.8), and then got into the crack and just kept going. It wasn't until I was 20 feet up or so that it started to feel strange. Everything was solid, laying back the 5.6 crack and then up to the pine tree ledge. I heard voices but they weren't there. I kept going up the Standard Route (5.5), the easy but unfamiliar variation. A little tricky since I hadn't done it before and I wanted to be extra sure about every move, wanted to be sure I was on route. Then I got to the sea of chickenheads and it was a breeze. Every once in a while I would look down to remind myself that if I fell would die. I heard voices as I was coming to the second belay. Got up there and Bill Ryan and Peter Lipa were up there. "Fancy meeting you here!" Stopped on the ledge to chat a while, then chalked up and kept going. Got back on to the chickenheads and the wind started gusting. Kept pulling on solid holds, always at least three points of contact, then up to the steep headwall to the top. Let me quote Peter Croft on how he felt after soloing Astroman:

"I got to the top as the sun was setting. I'd been concentrating so hard — all my senses were incredibly sharp and perception was super vivid. I could see everything in perfect definition and I was just amazed at how intensely beautiful everything looked. It was so much fun and totally worth the effort and risk. It was true adventure."

Obviously my meager solo did not even compare, but I can begin to understand why certain people solo and what a rush it can be, and how in tune with your surrounding it can make you. I thought a lot, on the rock and the trail. About South Dakota and my Masters oral. At the top of Rap Rock I took of my shoes and shirt and almost fell asleep in the sun if it wasn't for the cool wind and the ants. It was incredibly relaxing. Now my head is clear to study.

May 10, 1994 — Tucson
I had been studying quantum stuff and grading all day Monday when I found out my E and M final was the next day. (Today). He pulled a really fast one on us, the final was scheduled for Friday. Oh well, at this point I don't care. I tried to study for a few hours but finally just said "fuck it." Went to Geronimoz with Bruce and got fairly twisted until like 1 a.m. Then I got up at 5:30 a.m. in very good spirits with the sunrise. There was to be an eclipse at 9 a.m. Actually 9:06 and the final was scheduled for 9:00 The irony is too much. I came to Tucson right after the last eclipse, and now this eclipse is the same time as my last final possibly ever. (Then of course there's my oral.) I tried to study but couldn't. I was at Mike's place, learning how short order cooks talk. Went back to get my special glasses. Then I went to school and waited. It felt like the Mexico eclipse of '91. Dark clouds on the western horizon and the sun in a break in the clouds. The surreal twilight lighting with annular crescent shaped shadows. It didn't go full since it was annular. But it looked like an almost new moon when it was at it's prime. A horse shoe shape. And of course I was fifteen minutes late to the final but I felt I had a good reason— it's not every day you see a solar eclipse, though what's my tally now— two full and two annular. Melia brought doughnuts, it was stylin’. I worked the first two problems out of four. Then I pretty much lost it and wrote a three page essay on why I thought the department sucked. It was constructive. He read it and told me that all the points I mentioned were valid and under consideration with this new change of department policy. Went bouldering to Gate's Pass with Bruce. I'm tired as shit.

May 14, 1994 — Tucson
Less than a week in Tucson. Been partying a lot instead of studying. Thursday night went to 4th ave. Social Club. Adriana was there, quite lush. In a drunken stupor pulled me on to the dance floor and grinded and meshed into me, doing Merengue. Nothing subtle about it, I could feel her whole body against mine. She buried her head into me and we were spinning around, it was fun. We went back to the bar and her friend Christina was drowning her sorrows in a bottle of wine. Suddenly Adriana is all— "I need a back rub." So I start giving her a backrub but then she said— "no, not here. Let's go to your place." What the fuck. I was leaving in a week, so I said— "okay." We're out the door and I tell Lydia and Shaheen to go to Congress without me. But loitering outside waiting for Adriana, her friend Christina starts bawling and Adriana is consoling her. I feel stupid standing there waiting. I run [into Alan and start talking to him and then... here, we'll include the actual hand-written page:]

[and decided to aid Shriveled Penis] (5.11). Harlow aided it, his first aid climb. It was very time consuming. I started to follow it free, but it was too much of a pain to get all the gear out, so it was pretty much stop and go. Lame. Went to Gentle Ben's after that. Bruce and Jesus were already there and Shaheen showed up. Between the 4 of us (Harlow wasn't drinking) we downed 7 pitchers of Red Dog Porter. I was riding a good edge with that flushed skin feeling. Jesus went home and I gave the Beater keys to Harlow cuz I wasn't about to drive and he needed to get home. Shaheen, Bruce and I hit Cafe Comidas. A sudden shift to a mellow, sober crowd. Heather looked at us like we were vagrants, but she sat us in a far off corner and brought us a pitcher of Sangria. Things were getting vague at this point. That Sangria was dangerously good. There was a very bad guitar player struggling away. Everything from our table, especially Bruce, seemed amplified. It seemed everyone was staring at us. The mature, sophisticated anal crowd was making me want to puke. Then Heather brought us strawberry vodka double shots, on the house, she nodded over to the manager. A hint to leave. I went to the bathroom and was amazed at how bad my foot-eye coordination was. I couldn't help but to stagger. When I got back there was these people in tuxes, and a fat woman with rhinestone earrings. I told Shaheen that he should congratulate her on her fine vocal performance, convincing him that she was an Opera singer. Bruce and I egged him, Bruce laughing uncontrollably loud, and next thing we know Shaheen gathers himself over and walks over to their table. They were all amidst conversation and they stopped to stare at Shaheen as he approached the fat lady. He politely said— "excuse me, my friends and I wanted to congratulate you on your fine vocal performance." Her friends were refraining their laughter and looking at us piteously. It doesn't seem funny now, but Bruce and I were rolling on the floor. The manager's stares were getting more evil and somehow how the topic of karmic retribution on Bruce's roommates came up. For all the times they came home in a drunken state and woke him up. So we split over to Bruce's house and started being loud and obnoxious. There was an engine that Dan ("beefy redneck") took out of his car and he had everything labeled so he could put it back together. It was sitting in the middle of the living room. We switched all the labels around and were laughing hysterically. Then we went back to Cafe Comidas. As I went in to use the bathroom I heard laughter from the kitchen and somebody said— "the drunks are back." It occurred to me that we were pretty twisted at that point. This time Heather only brought us water, but things were fizzling anyway.
      The three of us drunkards had this romantic notion of camping out in this empty lot, but Bruce couldn't justify being that it was only two blocks from his house. So we went to my house and did the 5.7 tree climb move onto the roof, bringing blankets and a stove. I was making Top Ramen while Bruce was down-climbing the tree to get forks and more water. All of a sudden I heard a branch snap and looked just in time to see Bruce crater into the bushes. He was sprawled out on his back, writhing and I couldn't tell at first whether he was crying out in pain or laughing hysterically. He was alright, just had the wind knocked out him. Fell asleep and it wasn't funny the next morning at five a.m. when the sun was right in our face and there was pigeons all over the place. We were like— "what the hell were we thinking?" We got off the roof and went to Mike's place where I now reside, waiting for Cheryl and Scott.

May 15, 1994 — Tucson
Ice break day. Temperatures reach the centennial mark for the first time this year. Scott showed up Sunday around noon and we went and got Bruce to go to the Cornerstone. I forgot my rack cuz I figured we were doing sport routes. I forgot about the gear up high. So we top-roped the whole afternoon which suited Bruce and I just fine since we were nursing hangovers. Did Blood Simple (5.9+), Arizoner (5.10+), Raising Arizona (5.10) and Problem Child (5.10) with no falls. Good clean fun. Came down off the mountain and went to Cafe Comidas to scam free Sangrias. One pitcher did me in. Still hadn't recovered from the night before. We had a reputation at Comidas so we decided to move to Z's. Scott had to pick up Cheryl and Heather said she would meet us there. (She never showed, she told me later, because she thought Bruce was scamming on her). Bruce and I waited and waited, eavesdropping on the progress of a first date between some frat boy and a sorority chic.
     Sunday I didn't do much of anything. I sat in front of books and puttered around trying to get a start on packing. Then I went to Alan's to eat his infamous french onion soup. His friend, Samir, was there too. Interesting guys, but they are hard up and sexist. Alan goes on in gory detail how he was banging some drunk chic while she lay there moaning, oblivious. The soup was excellent but it made my farts smell something fierce because he used beef broth. I thought french onion soup sounded innocent enough [we were vegan at the time]. I had nightmares about dead cow carcasses.

May 18, 1994 (judgment day) — Tucson
YIPPEEIIAAAYY!!!!! If only one could scream in writing. I just got through the interrogation, the visceral laceration, the probing dissecting biopsy and all I know is I passed and that's all I care about. Everything is sifting out and falling away and I'm breaking loose, no turning back. It's a sweltering Tucson day and I've got the swamp cooler blowing. The ethereal Cocteau Twins are blaring to override the sound. There's plenty of beer in the refrigerator. I'm contemplating my heaps of material possessions accummalated since my stay here. Everything is cluttering my living room and I don't have the heart to get rid of anything so I plan on getting sauced, work up a slow burn throughout the day while I pack and unwind and get rid of shit.
     Yesterday I hiked up Esperero canyon to La Ventana. "The canyon of hope to the window." I plodded and plodded through the heat, equations reeling through my head. Near the spires I startled a bobcat that jumped up and ran away. He looked sick, he tripped and fell down. Through the oak transition and into Gneiss and pines. The trail seemed never-ending. I topped out and had to go down a ways to get to the windy window. It was like a violent wind tunnel as I entered it. I brought this journal all the way, but it was too windy to write. I just temporarily increased its potential energy. I found a copy of my Master's Candidacy form and made a paper plane out of it and chucked it out the window. Away from Tucson and into the mountains on the other side. That piece of paper a metaphor, three years all for this? No way, my diploma is the rocks. That's what I got out of my sojourn in Tucson, rock not paper. I didn't bring any food so I was wasted on the way down. My calves were spazzing out. Took me 7 hours to do an 18 mile hike with a topographic relief of a vertical mile. Saw two rattlesnakes on the way down that would have let me walk over them, they didn't even rattle. I couldn't study and figured I should just relax and see a movie. I checked out the Crow. Started to get anxious afterwards but talked myself out of it. Managed to sleep and was in good spirits when I awoke. Moreso because I knew it was closer to being over. I was killing time. I had the feeling where I wanted time to either hurry up and pass or just stop. Just do something except go as it does. Then I'm walking to the university and then I'm standing there and they're asking me questions and it's incredibly visceral. Made me aware of who I was in a funny way, concentrating so hard on the problems they were asking me. Next thing I know, one and half hours had passed and they ask me to leave. I went into the hall knowing that if all's well they'll ask me back in immediately. If not, they will deliberate on what areas to further harass me on. They asked me back in right away and told me I passed. I didn't really feel anything. It's still sinking in.

May 20, 1994 — Phoenix, Arizona
Out of the clutches. My stay in Tucson has expired. After taking my oral— after being dissected — I got a 12-pac and went home to work on a slow burn and began the laborious task at hand of packing. Slowly worked my way through the beer and the belongings. I was losing inhibitions and tossing everything in sight, load after load to the dumpster. Rebecca took me out to eat and I had a few more beers at the restaurant. Then I got Bruce and he gave me a belay while I worked on the next pitch (more packing). Come night I wanted to hit some bar and see Mark and Sather and co. but I was too drunk to drive. Went to Comidas to see if I could get Heather to drive me while Bruce chugged his Mickey's bigmouth in a "Gap" bag. Heather was already gone. As I was walking home I was thinking to myself it would be nice to have some sort of last minute fling to leave Tucson on. I walk in the door and the phones ringing. It's Adriana, wants me to come over to see a movie with her. Seemed destiny. Even talked her into picking me up as I was too drunk to drive. We saw "M". Her lame roommate was also slouching on the couches so no hanky panky, but making out with her was like kissing a dead fish so probably for the better. So much for "good dancers make good lovers." Adriana was nestling up to me and stuff and the phone rings. It's some guy, not even her ex Colombian Juan Gabriel guy but some other boyfriend from Washington that apparently never got over her. I can't help but to overhear blurbs of their bickering. Suddenly I lose interest and regret not going to the C.D.I. I rolled over and fell asleep right there on the couch. The guy calls back and she hangs up on him. He calls back again and she takes the phone outside. I go back to sleep. She wakes me up by putting her cold hands on me, trying to warm them up. I don't react. She says she's going to bed and hesitates. I say good night. Then I'm stuck on the couch watching "New Jack City". I didn't even have my car to drive myself home. Considered walking but it was far. I was really depressed that this was my second to last night in Tucson. There was weird people coming into her house at odd hours throughout the night. None of them seemed too surprised at finding a complete stranger watching television on their couch. I woke up early and searched the kitchen and found a coffee maker. Made some coffee and her housemates started coming in — "I see you found the coffee." I didn't care, I'd never see these people again. Finally I just went and woke Adriana up to get a ride home. Didn't say much on the way home, just thanked her for the ride.
     More progress on packing. Took Heather to eat at Torks for lunch, paid for it with tapes I sold at PDQ. Lydia moved all her shit and then is all— "I don't have time to clean, I have to be in Phoenix tomorrow morning." So what, I had to leave for Dakota in the morning. Bitch. I unleashed a wrath against her and finally she swept her floor. Then I had to deal with Rebecca's shit. She kept whining about how nobody would help her pack and she wanted to start moving her stuff. So I go over there and she's in complete chaos and not even ready to move anything. I grabbed her bed and futon in a pissed of state, i've run out of patience with her. She calls me when I get back to my place, moving her futon in, and tells me I'm selfish. Ungrateful bitch, fuck you and all your shit. I told her this and told her I wouldn't let her borrow my stuff like I told her I would. And that I was taking the utilities out of my name so she would have to pay to hook them up. No more Mr. nice guy. You bend over backwards for people and they turn around and call you selfish. I slammed the phone down. Shit. Now I would have to move all my shit to Bruce's because I didn't want to rely on storing it here. And I had to have all the utilities disconnected. What was I thinking anyway? Need to make that clean break, no ties, no possessions scattered about.
     At 7:30 I took a break. Went to Ben's Genitals to meet Jesus. Man, I'm gonna miss that guy more than anyone in Tucson. We chilled a few pitchers then went to the 4th ave. social club. Adriana showed up and Jesus and Shaheen were giving me shit about her. Jesus hates her but he kept encouraging me to— "give it to her in the face!" It was boys night out. I didn't want to waste any more energy on her. Downed a few more beers and Mark showed up. He bought me a double shot of ouzo, good shit. Made my head spin on the dance floor. I was starting to feel good. Then I was buying shots all around. At some point Mark and I went to O'malleys to try to find Brian. It was like a trip through Dante's Inferno. What a mindfuck. Like walking into Bif and Bubble's twilight zone of artificial dialogue beer commercial. I could only handle about ten minutes of that before I had to surface, never found Brian. Then went back to say goodbye to everyone. Had a hard time saying good-bye to Jesus. He kept giving me bear hugs and he was sober. Those of us who still had energy, Me, Bruce and Eegan, went to Carrow's to sober up and eat.
     Finished packing this morning. Dumped my shit off at Bruce's. We went to Summit Hut and then packed up the beater. Picked up Heather from the health center. She's really sick with mono, to weak to drive home. And then finally we were off! Yes! Freedom, a truck full of climbing gear and a lot of crack and 14.000 foot peaks between here and South Dakota. Right now I'm outside of REI while he drops some cash on a rack, sleeping bag, boots, etc. . .

May 21, 1994 — Moab, Utah
So Bruce went on his buying spree. Then we went and picked up Scott after letting his python undulate around my neck. Took off for Flagstaff, had to drop off that table for Chris. Got there at 11 and eventually found her trailer. Talk about white trash. Dumped the table off and we all slept on her floor while she hung out in her room with some psycho guy, wafts of marijuana coming under the door. She wasn't exactly social with us. Ate a good breakfast at Kathy's (ran into the girl I met on the train down to Mexico, the ones that were biking all through Mexico and central America). Then we waited for the Edge to open so Bruce could buy more climbing gear (even though I keep telling him he can use my rack all summer). Then we set out for Canyonlands via monument valley. Beautiful drive. Corrosive landscape like somebody etched it away leaving only the aspiring mesas. Little Navajo children running around with their hands in the air. Hit Utah, and eventually Moab, the land of yuppie-hippie mountain bikers. It's out of control, this place is too cool, even cooler than Prescott or Sedona. Too cool for me. We hit Wall street right away but it was getting late by the time we got there. Went back in to town to get a guide book and Pizza then took a midnight three mile jaunt to the Delicate Arch. Very intense in the moonlight. Smooth sandstone formations in clear air. Saw a cool little worm-like baby rattlesnake with one rattle. Now we're camping near the river, smoking cigars and listening to the death chant of the frogs. Bruce is sorting through his rack like a little boy on Christmas morning (cigar in mouth).

[Bruce climbing at Wall St + our beater blue truck w/ all our worldly possessions]

May 22 — Moab
Woke up to the sound of obnoxious idiots and cars blaring their horns. Lousy camping area. But we were only two minutes from Wall Street. Started out on Sibernetics (5.8), a stemming dihedral. Weird frictioning on this dusty sandstone. Then I led Flakes of Wrath (5.9+) a beautiful 5.9 hand crack to fists and laybacking then strenuous fingerlocks. Jut out left underclinging a roof, and that was it. Excellent route. Then we top-roped this 5.10 (?) Crack which some say was 5.10, others say was 5.11. Very strenuous finger crack, always on the verge of barndooring as it leaned left and was on a sort of arête. I'm going under now.

[Scott climbing in Moab]

May 23 — Moab
After that we went over to do 30 Seconds over Potash (5.8). Bruce tried to lead, got up about 10 feet and fell on a stopper. So I took the sharp end, fun crack in a dihedral. Next to it was Nervous in Suburbia (5.9+), a fine face climb with a sketchy first clip 15 off the deck. I guess for the people around here who don't get any face, it would be considered classic, but to us just another pretty face. We're here for crack. After that Scott led Steal Your Face (5.10a) which was easy slab for us, but fun. Where's all the crack? These routes are okay, but they all stop at chains 80 feet up even though the network of cracks loomed for pitches higher and higher into the sky. And the climbs were right off the road, people were belaying sitting in the backs of their trucks. There was all sorts of euro-sport climbers. The best part about it was the location, a beautiful spot on the river. The mighty Colorado flowing massively and quietly. Cliffs rising to either side.
     We ran out of water after that so we went into town. Ate Mexican food. Then took another sunset hike out to the Morning Glory Arches (4 miles). Started in a beautiful canyon, sunset, huge sandstone cliffs towering everywhere. The canyon dead-ended into morning glory arch, an immense (250 feet) span that was up next to a cliff (kind of) cave. Hard to describe the perspective but it was an ominous, intense scene. Saw some girls camped out under the arch with a fire going and the moon was about to beam down through the gap between the arch and the cliff. Scott and Bruce got stoned and we walked back in the moonlight. Ran into some weird badger-like animal, as well as many toads. I caught a crayfish from these shallow slabs that was trying to pinch me. Camped out in this grove of trees on the river. Killer site. Had a fire, felt like trolls. Woke up this morning and went into Arches national monument. Found out the beta this guy at the climbing shop gave us was sandbag. Tried this route Zippy Zelda (5.10a) which I got two pieces up this overhanging hand crack, before I lost my nerve. No one else was up to leading it. We drove ten miles to check out this classic crack that everybody recommended, owl rock (5.8). It was a pile of mud and the crack didn't even top out. Didn't even get on it. We were pissed. Went to try Chinese Eyes (5.10a) which looked hard, but what the hell, it took gear. Beautiful crack in a dihedral, starting fingers and ending in off-width. I cranked about half way up, grabbed a chockstone which I figured would be solid since this route was supposedly so classic. It was loose, freaked me out. Plugged a piece in and took a rest. Was scared to do the move past the chockstone so I aided through it then kept climbing up through the off-width. I was still gripped but couldn't take because there was no pro. There was this huge sandy shelf that seemed like it would give way. Scott and Bruce bitched their way up, Bruce didn't even make it. Scott got up after many tries. Basically we got our asses kicked. Dragged our sorry asses back to the truck (after spending twenty minutes getting a cam out), humbled as hell. Went out for pizza, beer and then ice cream. Vegitated about Moab then came back and organized. Bruce and I are getting ready to do Snowmass peak, Scott is hitching back to Phoenix.

[... the entries for May 24-28 in Colorado we already transcribed in post #453]

806 <(current)> 808> We found Foundation along VW alphabetically thru our vicarious microcosm
[  (ɔ)om.Postd 2020  anon I'm us  |  calamari archive   ]